SICSS Festival 2020

June 22 - June 26, 2020

The SICSS Festival 2020 will take place Monday, June 22 - Friday, June 26, 2020. During the festival, alumni from all SICSS locations would host events such as tutorials, panel discussions, or debates. These events will all be online. SICSS Festival events will be open to either current SICSS participants (at any location) or anyone that is interested; the choice of audience will be driven by the topic, learning objectives, and preferences of presenters. If you are a SICSS alumni and would like to host an event in the festival, please send us an email with a rough sketch of your idea. We will be adding events to this website as they are finalized.

Jump to a day: Monday. Tuesday. Wednesday. Thursday. Friday.

Monday

Panel discussion on teaching computational social science

Time: Monday, June 22, 2020. 12-1pm EDT

Speakers: Matti Nelimarkka (SICSS-Princeton 17, SICSS-Helsinki 18, SICSS-Istanbul 19, 20), Rochelle Terman (SICSS-Princeton 17), and Jae Yeon Kim (SICSS-Princeton 19, SICSS-Bay Area 20)

Moderator: Matthew Salganik (SICSS-Princeton 17, 19, SICSS-Duke 18, 20)

Description: Teaching computational social science at both the undergraduate and graduate level presents a number of challenging pedagogical questions. How should we teach a class with students from different disciplinary backgrounds? What is the role of programming in computational social science education? How should computational social science courses fit into a larger curriculum? The panelists will address these questions—and others—first in a moderated conversation and then will take questions from the audience.

Open to: Unlimited registered participants: Registration has closed.

Archiving: This talk will be recorded and archived. Video


Tuesday

Measuring cultural change in digital trace data using diversification rates

Time: Tuesday, June 23, 2020. 1-2 EDT.

Speaker: Bernard Koch (SICSS-Los Angeles 19, 20)

Description: How do we measure cultural change? Through the birth and death of “cultural lineages” (e.g., hashtags, consumer goods, or musical artists), digital trace data allows us to observe cultural change at population scale over time. This tutorial introduces a statistical framework to identify and explain culturally important historical events through changes in the diversity of cultural lineages over time. Users will learn how to run an unsupervised machine learning model called LiteRate to identify statistically significant shifts in cultural diversity, as well as more restricted models to test theoretical hypotheses about the causes of these events. The tutorial will be accessible to a broad audience.

Open to: Unlimited registered participants: Registration has closed.

Archiving: This talk will not be archived.

Discussion on diversity in computational social science

Time: Tuesday, June 23, 2020. 3:30-4:30pm EDT

Speaker: Naniette H. Coleman (SICSS-Princeton 19)

Host: Matthew Salganik (SICSS-Princeton 17, 19, SICSS-Duke 18, 20)

Description: In order to thrive, the field of computational social science needs contributions from diverse scholars. This discussion will address this broad challenge in a specific setting: the creation of SICSS-Howard/Mathematica (links to website, form to join the email list, and Facebook page), the first SICSS located at a Historically Black College or University (HBCU). Although this site has been postponed until 2021 due to COVID-19, it still serves as a useful case study for discussion. The discussion will focus on efforts to increase diversity in computational social science, why this work is important, and what should be done in the future. There will also be time for the audience to submit written questions to be asked by the host.

Open to: Unlimited registered participants: Registration has closed.

Archiving: This talk will be recorded and archived. Video


Wednesday

Computational social science to address the (post) COVID-19 reality

Time: Wednesday, June 24, 2020, 10–11:15am EDT

Speakers: Johan Bollen and Dean Eckles

Moderators: Maria Ferreira Sequeda and Monika Leszczynska (SICSS-Princeton 19, SICSS-Maastricht 20)

Description: Computational Social Science offers tools that can assist both policy makers and the private sector in the design and implementation of measures to address the economic and social challenges posed by COVID-19. How can the growing sources of (alternative) data and data science be used in a meaningful and responsible way, i.e. providing reliable and practical knowledge without compromising privacy and safety of people whose data is collected and analyzed? What are the methodological and regulatory solutions that could be applied to address the challenges and mitigate the risks? Our panelists will share their experience and ideas on these issues. There will also be enough time for questions from the audience.

Co-organized with the Maastricht Law and Tech Lab, ING, and the Think Forward Initiative

Open to: Unlimited registered participants. Registration has closed.

Archiving: This talk will be recorded and archived. Video.


Panel discussion on digital and computational demography

Time: Wednesday, June 24, 2020. 11:30am-12:30pm EDT

Speakers: Nicolò Cavalli (SICSS-Duke 18, SICSS-Oxford 19), Ridhi Kashyap (SICSS-Princeton 17, SICSS-Oxford 19), and Francesco Rampazzo (SICSS-Duke 18)

Moderator: Vissého Adjiwanou (SICSS-Princeton 17, SICSS-Cape Town 18, 19, SICSS-Montreal 20)

Description: The panel will begin with a broad introduction to digital and computational approaches to demography. Next, panelists will present examples drawing on some of their own work of digital and computational approaches to demographic research in two areas: 1) migration and 2) digital inequality and its implications for demographic processes. Following these specific examples, the panel will reflect on future directions for digital demography, both in the context of the promises and perils of this emerging area in demographic research, as well as in relation to its role within the broader computational social science community. We aim for this conversation to include a wider discussion between panelists and participants, and encourage broad participation from those within computational social science, demography and population studies communities.

Open to: Unlimited registered participants: Registration has closed.

Archiving: This talk will be recorded and archived. Video


Using Empirica for high-throughput virtual lab experiments (Session 1)

Time: Wednesday, June 24, 2020. 1-2:30pm EDT

Speakers: Abdullah Almaatouq (SICSS-Princeton 17), Joshua Becker (SICSS-Princeton 17, SICSS-Chicago 18), James Houghton (SICSS-Duke 20), and Nicolas Paton.

Description: Empirica is a new open source software platform for developing and conducting synchronous and interactive human-subject experiments. It has already been used by researchers around the world. This session will start with a live demonstration where participants will take part in a real-time experiment involving dozens of people. Next, the data from that experiment will be downloaded and analyzed. Thus, participants will have a behind-the-scenes, end-to-end experience with an experiment run with Emprica. Finally, there will be time for questions and discussion about Empirica and the future of experiments in the social sciences.

Open to: 30 registered participants. Registration has closed.

Preparatory materials: All registered participants are strongly encouraged to work through and watch Empirica videos A - E, which will require them to install software on their computers.

Archiving: See the video from the second session covering the same material.

Thursday

Creating open source software as part of an academic career

Time: Thursday, June 25, 2020. 11am-12pm EDT

Speakers: Ryan Gallagher (SICSS-Duke 18, SICSS-Boston 19), Anne Helby Petersen (SICSS-Duke 18), and Carsten Schwemmer (SICSS-Duke 18, SICSS-Bamberg 19)

Moderator: Matthew Salganik (SICSS-Princeton 17, 19, SICSS-Duke 18, 20)

Description: Almost all computational social science depends on open source software, yet very few computational social scientists actually contribute to open source software. These panelists will share their experiences developing open source software as part of an academic career, and they will offer advice for others who want to contribute to existing open source projects or start new ones. There will be time for questions from the audience.

Software by the speakers:

Ryan Gallagher

Anne Helby Petersen

Carsten Schwemmer

Open to: Unlimited registered participants: Registration has closed.

Archiving: This talk will be recorded and archived. Video


Panel discussion on the non-academic job market in computational social science

Time: Thursday, June 25, 2020. 12:30-2pm EDT

Speakers: Sudhir Venkatesh (Lead Social Scientist, Twitter & William B. Ransford Professor of Sociology & African American Studies, Columbia University), Pablo Barberá (Research Scientist, Facebook & Associate Professor, Department of Political Science & International Relations, University of Southern California), and Antje Kirchner (SICSS-Princeton 17, SICSS-RTI 19, Research Survey Methodologist, RTI International)

Moderator: Chris Bail (SICSS-Princeton 17, 19, SICSS-Duke 18, 20)

Description: Computational social science leads to a wide range of interdisciplinary job opportunities outside academia. These panelists will share their experiences in industry settings and will offer thoughts about how an academic research program in the field could lead to a variety of fulfilling careers.

Open to: Unlimited registered participants: Registration has closed.

Archiving: This event will NOT be recorded or archived.

What Can the SICSS Community Do to Recognize and Eradicate Anti-Black Racism in Computational Social Science?

Time: Thursday, June 25. 2-3 PM EDT

Organizers: Tina Law (SICSS-Duke 18, SICSS-Chicago 19) and Taylor W. Brown (SICSS-Princeton 17, SICSS-Duke 18, SICSS-Oxford 19)

Description: Right now, protests are taking place around the world in response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Rayshard Brooks, and countless other Black lives, and many necessary conversations are being had about anti-Black racism. As members of the SICSS community, what can we do to recognize and eradicate anti-Black racism in our own field? Computational social science is a relatively new field with a lot of potential for positive social change. It is also a field born out of two long-standing disciplines–computer science and social science–that have histories of marginalizing Black scholarship and contributing to anti-Black policies and programs. What are the opportunities and challenges that we face as computational social scientists when it comes to addressing anti-Black racism? And, how can the SICSS community leverage our unique strength as a global network of teachers and scholars to combat anti-Black racism? This discussion and planning session is open to SICSS participants and alumni who are interested in actively tackling these questions together.

Open to: SICSS participants and alumni. Unlimited number of registered participants. Registration has closed.

Format: Discussion & planning session; note that this is not a panel, active participation is encouraged.

Archiving: This event will NOT be recorded or archived.

Friday

Opportunities and challenges with industry collaborations

Time: Friday, June 26, 2020. 10-11am EDT

Speakers: Dave Holtz (SICSS-Duke 18) and Sanaz Mobasseri (SICSS-Duke 18, SICSS-Boston 19)

Moderator: Matthew Salganik (SICSS-Princeton 17, 19, SICSS-Duke 18, 20)

Description: Most big data sources are controlled by companies, and many computational social scientists struggle to get access to these data. These panelists, who have experience collaborating with companies on research projects, will share insights about initiating, developing, and maintaining productive collaborations between researchers and companies. They will discuss practical issues, such as negotiating data usage agreements and navigating legal considerations for both parties, as well as describe potential risks and ethical issues created by these collaborations. There will be time for questions from the audience.

Open to: Unlimited registered participants. Registration has closed.

Archiving: This talk will be recorded and archived. Video


Using Empirica for high-throughput virtual lab experiments (Session 2)

Time: Friday, June 26, 2020. 10-11:30am EDT.

Speakers: Abdullah Almaatouq (SICSS-Princeton 17), Joshua Becker (SICSS-Princeton 17, SICSS-Chicago 18), James Houghton (SICSS-Duke 20), and Nicolas Paton.

Description: Empirica is a new open source software platform for developing and conducting synchronous and interactive human-subject experiments. It has already been used by researchers around the world. This session will start with a live demonstration where participants will take part in a real-time experiment involving dozens of people. Next, the data from that experiment will be downloaded and analyzed. Thus, participants will have a behind-the-scenes, end-to-end experience with an experiment run with Emprica. Finally, there will be time for questions and discussion about Empirica and the future of experiments in the social sciences.

Open to: 30 registered participants. Registration has closed.

Preparatory materials: All registered participants are strongly encouraged to work through and watch Empirica videos A - E, which will require them to install software on their computers.

Archiving: This talk will be recorded and archived. Video